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Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

What is Bowenwork?

Oct 30, 2012 05:10PM ● By Nancy Bittinger

Bowenwork is a dynamic system of muscle and connective tissue therapy that was developed in Australia in the 1950s by Tom Bowen. The basic philosophy behind Bowenwork is that the human body is hardwired to seek balance through the regulatory process of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Focusing on the ANS allows an integrated response that can affect not just the muscle and connective tissue, but internal organs, as well.

The idea is to put just enough information into the body to trigger its own innate capacity to restore balance. The change is therefore brought about from within the body and results in greater and longer-lasting benefits.

Though most people seek out bodywork for issues of muscular pain, Bowenwork’s holistic approach allows for improvements on a broad spectrum of issues, including those that affect the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease, anxiety and autism.

Many people live in a constant state of high stress and sympathetic ANS over-stimulation (fight-or-flight mode). Healing can occur only after the ANS shifts to parasympathetic dominance (relax-and-repair mode). Bowenwork allows that shift. During the first moves of a session, clients often drop into deep relaxation or fall asleep, indicating a profound release of stress and a shift toward parasympathetic influence. The practitioner then leaves to allow the body to adjust and relax. When he or she returns a few minutes later, the body is ready to receive more information.

Throughout a session, practitioners move in and out of the room many times performing subtle movements on muscle and connective tissue that send messages to a newly relaxed and receptive body. These messages travel through the fascia and the nervous system to let the body know where there is distress. That is when the body can begin the healing process.

Nancy Bittinger is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Bowen Practitioner, and the owner of Carlisle Bowenwork. For more information, call 717-386-8279 or visit

October 2019